Summer Reading Takes Aim At The Periodic Table

While leafing through my latest issue of Entertainment Weekly I stumbled across an interesting book review. Normally these reviews are reserved for vampire-laden sagas and tantalizing tell-all books. But the book up for review was neither otherworldly nor gratuitous. It was a book about the Periodic Table of Elements – brilliant!

"The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements," written by Sam Kean, is said to examine how elements have shaped astronomy, biology, literature, history and politics.

And according to Entertainment Weekly, the book's title refers to gallium, a metal that disintegrates in hot liquids.

During my lunch break I plan on heading to the book store to pick up my very own copy. I will let you know my review. Until then, you'll have to rely on the reviews I found at

"It happens often in biology, but only once in a rare while does an author come along with the craft and the vision to capture the fun and fascination of chemistry. Sam Kean's The Disappearing Spoon is a pleasure and full of insights. If only I had read it before taking chemistry." --Mark Kurlanksy, author of Salt and Cod

"If you stared a little helplessly at the chart of the periodic table on the wall of your high school chemistry class, then this is the book for you. It elucidates both the meanings and the pleasures of those numbers and letters, and does so with style and dash." --Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

"The Disappearing Spoon shines a welcome light on the beauty of the periodic table. Follow plain speaking and humorous Sam Kean into its intricate geography and stray into astronomy, biology, and history, learn of neon rain and gas warfare, meet both ruthless and selfless scientists, and before it is over fall head over heels for the anything but arcane subject of chemistry." --Bill Streever, author of Cold

Traci Purdum
Senior Digital Editor